|The Railroad History of
Yamhill County, Oregon
|Yamhill County and the surrounding area is home to several active and abandoned railroads, but
what makes the railroads here so significant is that they are some of the oldest railroads in the
state. Some dating back to the 1870s. Dozens of historic wooden trestles make this one of the
most interesting lines in Oregon. Many of the wood and log trestles date to the 1800s and very
early 1900s and amazingly are still actively in service.
The page is normally reserved for abandoned and inactive lines, but because the currently active
railroads in Yamhill County have such significant history, I’m going to include them as well. I lived in
Yamhill County from the mid 1980s through the late 1990s, and for some of that time lived no more than
a few feet from the main Southern Pacific line that ran right through the heart of the county. Today, I
decided to go back and explore what remains of some of the oldest rail road lines in Oregon.
These pictures are only the first few areas of the Yamhill County railroads that I've explored so far.
Many more explorations are to come including some potentially very interesting abandoned sections
west of Willamina.
|The first large trestle on the line that connects
Portland and Yamhill County. Here, this old
wooden trestle ( a common feature on the
Yamhill County lines.) is located near
Sherwood, Oregon. This section of the P&W
is rarely used nowadays.
|A relatively newer concrete
railroad bridge over Hwy 99W, just
north of Newberg. The sign on the
bridge indicates that it's now
operated by the Portland &
Western. This section of track is
rarely sees rail traffic.
|This same trestle in 1982 with
a Southern Pacific train
running over when Southern
Pacific used to run this line.
|Looking north at the
mainline and the remains
of the abandoned spur
|This is at the very north end of Newberg, Oregon, facing south toward town. Here the main
line has just crossed Rex hill and decented into town. One of it's first stops used to be this
unknown type of mill or wearhouse. Today the building is abandoned and so is the siding that
used to serve it. Note how the tracks next the building have been torn up. The mainline
continues into Newberg. The tracks from here north are rusty and have not been used in at
least 6 months when I visited the area. Currently there are no plans to run a regular sechedule
between Newberg and Portland, partly due to the poor condition of the line.
|A very old bridge near Springbook, in the city of Newberg. The wood structure is
likely older than the steel center structure. This line dates to the 1880s and it's
possible the bridge is that old.
|A three track railyard located in the north end of town.
From this yard, trains are interchanged with the paper mill.
The box cars seen here are very likely from the paper and
are either loaded and awaiting pick up by Portland and
Western crews or empty and awaiting for the Mill railroad
to take back to the mill.
|The site of the old Newberg Depot. The depot was built in
the early 1900s and existed through the late 1970s before
being torn down. The picture on the right was taken in the
mid 1970s. The picture on the left was taken by me. The
fenced in area is where the depot use to be located.
Yamhill County Historical Society.
|The tracks near the old depot site. The grain elevator
seen here is obviously quite old. Note the old siding next
to the grain elevator. The track in the middle is the
mainline through Newberg.
|One of the large wooden trestles as the line heads south out of the Newberg. This trestle
has likely been rebuilt at some point, but the design and many of the timbers probably
dates to the original construction of the late 1800s.
|The same bridge when
operated the line.
Picture from the late
|The small yard in the town of Dundee. Here the yard services this small mill
and is occasionally used for storage of some rail line equipment such as this
brush cutting rig.
|This very long trestle was one of the largest, at least longest, bridges in the
county and one of the few that span the Yamhill River. Most of the bridge,
including the timbers and main metal supports probably date to the late 1800 or
|You can see the original supports were rebuilt at some point. The cut off
supports you see here still in the ground are likely remains of the original
bridge supports, built in 1880. Rather that pull out the old piles, new pilings
were constructed between the old pilings and the old pilings were cut off.
|The flat horizontal slats built into the bridge are remains of some larger structure on
the bridge. Their purpose is a mystery, but I am guessing that perhaps the entire
bridge was covered in wood at one point to protect it from the weather. Nearly all
bridges from the late 1800s and early 1900s were covered to protect them.
|A very old
to the top of the
|A close up of the bolts
that hold the trestle
together. These bolts and
the condition of the wood,
show it's decades old age.
|Overlooking the trestle
from the highway end.
|While the span over the
Yamhill River has been
replaced, these metal pipe
supports date from the
very original stucture of
|A close up of the metal pilings.
The pilings are welded together
which indicate the age is probably
in the last 50 years. Note how the
original bridge had no center
supports at all.
|The picture on the right shows the Yamhill River span as it was
originally constructed around 1880. The picture on the left shows the
span today. You can see the metal pipe supports and most of the
timbers of the original bridge appear to survive today. The center
span over the river was replaced with a concrete structure that was
further supported by metal pilings pounded into the river. The old
wooden hydrodyamic covering on the metal pilings are usually only
found on very old bridges, but the welding on the metal indicates that it
was probably rebuilt sometime after World War Two.
|The rail yard at Whiteson. This Rail yard dates to the late 1800 and a depot
was once here, but is long gone today. This yard originally connected
railroads running in four different directions. Today, the main line from
McMinnville runs south through to Corvallis. A connection, dating to 1880,
heads west to Sheridan and Willamina. Several grain elevators are located
nearby and serviced by the railroad today.
|This is just the beginning. Many more write ups and pictures from the
historical railroads of Yamhill County, including some abandoned lines are
coming soon. Stay tuned.
|If anyone has any further information or pictures about any of these railroads please let me
know. You can Email me anytime. Thanks.
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|Abandoned and Active